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There are 274 blog entries within the category of Blog Entry

Grandparent Teaching Photos
November 9th, 2013 | View Post

Catherine Ludlow presiding over her class. Side observation: high schoolers used to look incredibly old.

Howard Ludlow Sr. presiding over his class (or at least I assume there exists a class out of frame)
My dad recently came across a few photos he had tucked away of my grandparents (his respective parents) teaching in their fields. I found this a little surprising seeing on how I have archived thousands upon thousands of our family photos and albums and thought that I had all of them. Nevertheless, I'm always happy to come across more photos for the catalog.

My grandmother was a high school Spanish teacher (amongst other fields I'm sure) and my grandfather was a professor and dean of the economics school at Seton Hall University in New Jersey.

They were both in academics for the entirety of their lives (and incidentally died within just a few months of one another).
The Symphonic House of Michigan
September 30th, 2013 | View Post
As part of my recent visit to Grand Rapids, Michigan, we took a 2-day road trip to northern Michigan. It was just me, my dear friend Mark, and a new friend Felip. We explored the Sleeping Bear Dunes, Traverse City, countless wineries and cider shops, and perhaps most interesting, a piece of real estate for sale known globally as The Symphonic House.

The house was incredible. The house was beautiful. The house was unique.

It was constructed with countless forms of recycled wood, glass, and metal, and was simply wonderful to experience. Every room was built to serve a function. Certain windows were designed to catch the sounds of the wind through the nearby pine trees. Others were designed to echo the gentle sounds of the waves from Lake Michigan. The back steps of the house led to the private beach, a lagoon-like cove of the Great Lake. The house was only 6,200 square feet. It may seem large, but not with a price tag of roughly $4.5 million. The costs were due to the house being an architectural dream.

Beyond all of that, the most fascinating part of the house was that it was built to be playable. I know it sounds a little crazy. Essentially the architect had installed various sets of brass strings roughly 30 feet in length in various rooms. The most prominent ones were accessible from the second story and ran over the main living room area. They were attached along two structural trusses in the house with wooden sound boxes set behind them to catch resonating strings. With rosin-laden gloves, the house could literally be played.

And how could I not?

Even better is that we had the added benefit of getting a personal "behind-the-scenes" tour of the architecture from the architect himself, David Hanawalt. Mark had spoken with him a few days earlier and managed to set it up. It was a truly unique experience for all of us!
Monday Evening Piano
August 20th, 2013 | View Post
I've been going up to the UT School of Music for years to play on the pianos. I've never been a particularly good pianist, but I thoroughly enjoy playing. I went up there about a week ago and was disappointed to find all of the practice rooms locked; I thought they had instituted a new policy.

I went back yesterday to check on this and was happy to have been proven wrong.

Canyon Lake Gorge Private Tour
August 19th, 2013 | View Post
There is a geological formation in Central Texas unlike any other place in the world, or so I'm told. Thanks to some wonderful connections, I was able to go on a private tour of this geological wonderland over the weekend.

Over the July 4th weekend of 2002, two massive storms collided over Central Texas and dumped rain for days. The results were cataclysmic. New Braunfels and Canyon Lake were two of the greater causalities in the state with Canyon Lake filling to one and a half times its capacity. When the pressure built up enough and the spillway didn't hold, a massive rush of water began to flow destroying everything in its path, including the Earth itself.

The very fact that this is possible fascinates me, but a new canyon was carved into the Earth in a long weekend. Think of a very small version of the Grand Canyon. This is what is known as the Canyon Lake Gorge.

My friend Mark knows one of the caretakers and naturists and was able to get us on a private tour of the canyon. It was only about a 1.80 mile hike, but we experienced an elevation decline of about 220 feet and traveled back through time about 1.5 million years (between the beginning and end of the hike).

The canyon is full of fault lines, fossils, and incredibly well-preserved dinosaur tracks.

A view of the canyon. The water has that milky blue look due to the limestone deposits in it

Pretty incredible fossils

Evidently one of the most visible fault lines in the entire world

Posing inside one of the caves along the way

DADGAD Original - Recorded Again
August 16th, 2013 | View Post
I enjoy recording this tune every once in awhile just because I enjoy playing it so much. I wrote it back in 2002, re-wrote it in 2003, and have been playing mostly the same variation for the past decade.

Most people tell me you're not supposed to strum anything in a DADGAD configuration. Fortunately, I've never been keen on following the restrictions of "most" people.

Bell OH-58 Militarized Helicopter and APD
July 23rd, 2013 | View Post

A Bell OH-58 Military helicopter owned by the City of Austin
At about 6:30 last night (July 22nd, 2013), a military helicopter was circling my neighborhood for about 30 - 45 minutes. It was low and very loud prompting me to investigate. When I went outside, a militarized police officer in full tactical gear with a German Shepard started yelling at me from my neighbor's property. He was wandering around with a regular a police officer in the standard APD uniform.

I later looked it up and the helicopter turned out to be a Bell OH-58 Military helicopter; it was very loud.

With the helicopter hovering as low as it was, I couldn't hear anything that the tactically-dressed officer was yelling at me. I calmly pointed to my ears and the sky at the same time indicating I could not hear a word of what he was saying. So he approached me closer. He finally said, "Is this your house?" To which I responded, "It is." He then yelled at me to go inside of my house.

I did not go inside and so the officer (which I was only assuming was his profession at this point) continued yelling at me to do so. He eventually told me that an armed assailant was on the loose and they were looking for him. While I appreciated his concern for the situation, I remained outside. It wasn't so much an act of defiance, but rather consideration that I had nothing to be defiant about since I was standing on my own front porch and was otherwise curious about the situation.

A number of my neighbors were outside trying to understand the commotion in the sky. When I peered down the block, I noticed there were several APD vehicles around the neighborhood with their lights on, presumably blocking off strategic exit points.

The same cop who had yelled at me asked my neighbor permission to search her yard. Both the tactical-officer and APD had their guns fully drawn as they searched through the yard. We have a lot of tall bamboo separating our yards from the creek and I think they were primarily interested in searching through there. To my knowledge, they didn't find anyone.

About an hour later, the cops apparently found what they deemed to be "evidence" in another neighbor's backyard. It was brought out front in a sealed evidence bag. I don't know what it was. A crime scene van hung around the area for awhile and then all was clear.

After posting the story to Reddit, I was informed that a man robbed three people of their electronics at gunpoint and then apparently fled into the creek behind my house. I've still not seen any additional details posted about the situation in local media or the like and so I'm not sure if they got him or not.

I'm all for people catching the bad guys. And in this case, anyone who commits an act of aggression against another (especially with a firearm) is a bad guy - undoubtedly. However, I am NOT okay with the flippant attitude that most people have towards the City of Austin owning such toys. I think it's especially sad that for such a liberal city like Austin, that same liberal leadership can sign off on things like this.